North Korean defector calls on Moon Jae-in to abolish anti-leaflet law

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Jan. 5 (UPI) — A former North Korean diplomat in Seoul urged President Moon Jae-in to scrap a controversial law banning the launch of anti-Pyongyang leaflets at the border.

Thae Yong-ho, a lawmaker with the South’s main opposition People Power Party, said in a letter made public on Tuesday the bill, which passed at Seoul’s National Assembly in December, obstructs the eyes and ears of the North Korean people, Yonhap reported.

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Moon should take actions to withdraw the bill, Thae said.

Thae, a high-profile defector who was elected to office last year, has been critical of the ruling Kim family in Pyongyang and his political rivals in the South’s ruling Democratic Party.

The lawmaker has said Seoul’s pro-engagement politicians had capitulated to Kim Jong Un‘s sister Kim Yo Jong, who had called defectors who launch leaflets “human scum.”

In his letter published Tuesday, Thae said the balloon launches from the South were working and North Korean society was changing.

“The South Korean cultural content [media] smuggled into North Korea for the past 10 years have spread extensively among North Korean residents and troops, weakening their hostility [toward the South], drawing admiration, and sparking rapid change,” Thae said. The lawmaker also said the ban on balloons that contained movies on flash drives negates the “cultural power” that could realize peaceful unification on the Korean Peninsula.

Thae also said the law that was passed after Kim Yo Jong’s statement could lead to “new threats” and blackmail from North Korea, South Korean news network MBN reported. The South could be perceived as be being “dragged around” by the North from the viewpoint of the incoming U.S. administration of President-elect Joe Biden, the South Korean lawmaker said.

Other South Korean public figures have voiced similar concerns about the anti-leaflet law.

Last week former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on Seoul to “rectify” the leaflet ban, according to Yonhap.

“Human rights are not an internal affair but a universal value of humankind,” Ban said.